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Candy companies have been seeing a steady decline in sales in the past decade. 

Elisabeth Sherman
August 01, 2017

Online grocery shopping at popular websites like FreshDirect and Amazon could spell trouble for candy companies, which depend on sales at the cash register to stay in the green.

Quartz reports that candy companies first began to see sales troubles on the horizon when grocery stores introduced the self-checkout in the Nineties, which doesn’t have shelving space for the gum and candy bars that you usually see at the regular register. In 2014, one candy executive estimated that the his industry had lost “billions” of dollars since 1992 because of the self-checkout.

Online shopping makes it even more difficult for candy to make its way into customers' shopping bag, especially they can't physically see or reach the treats they might consider as impulse purchases. Those types of buys disappear when you can navigate a website for the groceries that you want without being tempted by shelves of candy that might catch your eye.

This latest development only compounds problems candy companies have been seeing in recent years: This summer, reports that Nestle might sell the American branch of its company because the “demand for sweets has fallen off in the United States,” began to surface. Meanwhile, CVS stores have started "hiding" their candy in effort to persuade people to buy healthier snacks, which probably isn’t helping the candy industry recover lost profits, either.

According to Quartz, global candy sales have been steadily dropping across the board: Bubble gum sales have dropped 40% in the past ten years, while the chewing gum market (which includes all varieties of gum) dropped 8% in the same time period.

In order to combat the Internet-shopping takeover, companies like Hershey are exploring ways to get people to start buying their candy online, but only time will tell if that will save the candy market from becoming obsolete in the age of Amazon.